The materialistic and selfish quality of contemporary life is not inherent in the human condition. Much of what appears “natural” today dates from the 1980s: the obsession with wealth creation, the cult of privatization and the private sector, the growing disparities of rich and poor.
I suffer from a motor neuron disorder, which constitutes progressive imprisonment without parole. First you lose the use of a digit or two; then a limb; then and almost inevitably, all four.
Girls! Girls! Girls!
In 1992 I was chairman of the History Department at New York University - where I was also the only unmarried straight male under sixty. A combustible blend: prominently displayed on the board outside my office was the location and phone number of the university’s Sexual Harassment Center.
I never knew Toni Avegael, but I am reminded of her whenever I am asked what it means to be Jewish.
The first work by Hannah Arendt that I read, at the age of sixteen, was Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil.1 It remains, for me, the emblematic Arendt text. It is not her most philosophical book. It is not always right; and it is decidedly not her most popular piece of writing. I did not even like the book myself when I first read it…